Work Design in the Coal Industry

Work Design in the Coal Industry

Enid Mumford (Manchester University, UK)
Copyright: © 2003 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-118-6.ch005
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Abstract

Once you have obtained a reasonably good understanding of the problem to be tackled, the next step is to decide what to do and how to do it. This requires developing a strategy for action. Ideally strategies should be simple rather than complex and should be capable of being implemented without too much difficulty and stress. They should also fit with the culture of an organization as well as with its problems. Participative design can play a useful part here, both by getting ideas from groups with different roles and responsibilities and by ensuring that there is general agreement on what is to be changed before this change takes place. This will enable the change to take place in a favourable environment. However with major decisions that affect the running of a company, it is usually desirable that top management makes the final decision. Strategy also needs to be continually reviewed as it can easily lose its relevance if the environment changes or if a closer acquaintance with the problem leads to greater understanding of the problem situation. Increasing knowledge will help identify those factors in the change situation which will be easiest to reform and those which are likely to prove more difficult (Markides, 2001). It must also be recognised that while change is desirable it is also disruptive. This fact will influence the “how” factor. How can this change be introduced without impeding normal production activities and without disturbances that lower morale? Strategy should also take account of the future as well as the present. What kinds of circumstances are like to alter and may require a total rethink of strategy. Once again, I suggest that this case study is very relevant for students and practitioners working in areas such as information technology where human factors are sometimes neglected by those responsible for change. As this book is focusing on organizational problems, many of which arrive through the introduction of new technology, it is often wise to start the learning process by considering solutions that have already been tried and proved successful in similar situations. One of these might work again in the new situation, although it must be recognised that every change environment is different, modifications will almost certainly be needed and failure is always a possibility. The next case study incorporates a review of previous strategies. Looking at the past will also bring a recognition that the new situation differs in important aspects from the old and that a different approach is required. This, in itself, is an important lesson.

Complete Chapter List

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Table of Contents
Chapter 1
Enid Mumford
Managing change of any kind requires effective problem solving. This is especially the case when the change involves designing and implementing new... Sample PDF
The Problems of Managing Change
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Chapter 2
Enid Mumford
In order to understand the present and predict the future we need to learn from the past. A major part of this book will examine how ideas derived... Sample PDF
Socio-technical Design: Its Early History
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Chapter 3
Enid Mumford
As the case studies in the chapters that follow are all examples of participative organizational and systems design, I will now describe the... Sample PDF
Participation in Practice
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Chapter 4
Enid Mumford
The book now introduces some case studies on organizational design and asks you to think what you would do if you were a manager, researcher or... Sample PDF
Analysing Problem Situations: The Dock Workers of Liverpool
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Chapter 5
Enid Mumford
Once you have obtained a reasonably good understanding of the problem to be tackled, the next step is to decide what to do and how to do it. This... Sample PDF
Work Design in the Coal Industry
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Chapter 6
Enid Mumford
The last two case studies showed the importance of understanding a problem before embarking on its solution and the need to develop an appropriate... Sample PDF
Considering Structure: Different Organizational Solutions in Automobiles
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Chapter 7
New Problems in Banking  (pages 109-129)
Enid Mumford
In the last three case studies there has been a logical progression through the management of change, considering first the definition of the... Sample PDF
New Problems in Banking
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Chapter 8
Enid Mumford
This chapter moves away from a concentration on the “what” to do and focuses on the “how” to do it. An important strategic decision at the start of... Sample PDF
Involving Employees in Design: Rolls Royce
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Chapter 9
Enid Mumford
This chapter and case study address two important design problems. The first is the challenge presented by the task of developing systems that... Sample PDF
Designing an Expert System
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Chapter 10
Enid Mumford
One very important group we have not discussed in detail before is senior management. It is they who take the important company decisions on what to... Sample PDF
Senior Management, Decision-Making and Design
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Chapter 11
Enid Mumford
Most socio-technical system design has been used to create participative, high quality, people-friendly systems for specific projects or parts of... Sample PDF
Company-Wide Participation in Air Products
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Chapter 12
Enid Mumford
Shell provides an excellent example of an international group that for many years has used socio-technical values and approaches to help the... Sample PDF
Quality and Environmental Issues in Shell International
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Chapter 13
Enid Mumford
Participative systems design has, in the past, been seen as a positive group process of thinking through needs and problems and arriving at... Sample PDF
Designing for Problem Prevention
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Chapter 14
Enid Mumford
The philosophy of this book is that problem solving and the management of change will be facilitated by participation. By participation is meant... Sample PDF
Designing for an Uncertain Future
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Methods and Tools
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